Welcome fight Enthusiasts to UFC 232 their final fight card for 2018. Below please find my main event breakdown published earlier this week on VSiN’s ‘Point Spread Weekly’ magazine, a weekly publication dedicated to handicappers of every way shape and form. Both sets of weigh-ins are complete so my releases are updated after the main event breakdown. Happy New Year to all and may all the split decisions in 2019 go our way!
(All GambLou.com releases are understood to be a standard/hypothetical $100.00 per position unless otherwise stated. I employ $100.00 to easily track results as every GambLou.com release is recorded and accounted for. On line, up to date results for the select sporting events I work are available by accessing the ‘Profitability’ tab on the top of the Gamblou.com webpage. The ‘Profitability’ tab displays win percentage, gross profit and ROI. It’s business).
--Originally published 12-28-18 ‘Point Spread Weekly’--
Thank You goes out to all readers of ’Insight the Octagon’ in Point Spread Weekly as well a wish for a Happy and Joyous New Year.
This UFC 232 fight card is stacked with competitive fights between championship world class competitors and the card features a couple of capable value based canines. We may not uncover a dog in the main event this week but there are live underdogs to be found on Saturday’s fight card.
I’m tracking UFC Favorites in 2018 at: 282-132-16 (65.4%) so while I focus on uncovering value on underdogs, I’m also respectful of the data and choose to remain ultra-selective with any releases.
Also, we hold an open ended parlay that needs to be filled and I’ll do so from a side on this main event. The first leg was Kamaru Usman -250 in the TUF finale released on the November 28th ‘Insight the Octagon’ column (Point Spread weekly issue #66).
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones -255 vs. Alex ‘the Mauler’ Gustaffson +220 Light Heavyweight Championship (205lbs.)
Before entering the 2019 UFC campaign we’re privileged to enjoy the final UFC fight card of this year which features the highly anticipated return of Jon ‘Bones’ Jones. Jones is regarded by most qualified MMA Enthusiasts as simply the best fighter this sport has ever witnessed. And while I agree that Jones the physical fighting machine sports tremendous physical advantages I also must state that his issues with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) must be addressed for they (in my judgement) provide insight into the mentality of Jones the fighter. In sports wagering but most especially the fight game everything must be considered when striving for advantage and if there is a chink to Jones fight arsenal it is to be found in his mentality.
I say this because in each of Jones two Championship fights against Daniel Cormier, USADA ruled that he’s tested positive to using banned enhancing substances. This caused him to be stripped of the title by the UFC after the first instance in 2016. Then in 2017 after being reinstated, his KO victory over DC was ruled a ‘no contest’ again based on USADA findings.
Jones fight arsenal is based on unrelenting wrestling, incredible athleticism and a unique combination of size/length/reach to set up his powerfully precise striking and kicking game… and I haven’t mentioned how truly bad this kid’s intentions are. Jones the fighter is the absolute prototype of the modern MMA fighter. That said, when I assess Jones, I’ll recall that in each of his two fights against Daniel Cormier Jones believed that he needed an ‘edge’ and I’ll leave it to readers to make any further judgements regarding why he felt he needed to do that.
Myself I’ll say this with a high degree of certainty, if Jon Jones enters a UFC Octagon fully prepared mentally and physically to battle, it does not matter if the fight be Light Heavyweight or Heavyweight and against anyone anywhere, Jones would be marked as a minimum -190 chalk based on my handicapping.
So we approach this main event and discover that Jones is currently -265 against this Alexander Gustaffson from Sweden. This fight is lined as tightly as it is (for a jones fight) because in their first fight Gustaffson fought brilliantly and forced Jones who opened -800 and closed -1000 to go all five rounds before winning a closely contested but fair decision.
In that fight Gustaffson was able to neutralize much of Jones physical advantages with deft movement and by utilizing angles to both counter Jones and actually take him down…something that had not really been done to him prior. Gus is actually an inch taller than JBJ at 6’5” and only gives away five inches of reach to Jones (I say ‘only’ because Jones reach is second only to 7’1” Stefan Struve but Gus was able to minimize that advantage with his own size and reach) so in the first fight Jones discovered that he was being tagged when engaging with Gus which is something he had rarely experienced.
Their first fight was the one instance Jones engaged in someone with similar physical attributes to Jones and it was noticeable in the result. It will be interesting to discover the Gustaffson fight plan for Gus has been grousing that he won the first fight as well chiding Jones about his checkered past. One thing I will say about Gus is that he has some intestinal fortitude to be mouthing off to this monster.
Gus being Muay Thai, boxing based with a purple belt in BJJ added for ground effectiveness will enter the Octagon with plenty of pugilistic pedigree and confidence.
I expect this fight to look much like the first if Gustaffson has his druthers although it is widely known that Jones took Gus lightly prior to that first fight in UFC 165 and was out ‘carousing’ the nights leading up to that fight. Jones claims he won that fight being ill prepared and quite honestly I do believe that.
Because each fighter has not been in the cage for months (Jones last fight was July 2017 and Gustaffson’s last fight was May 2017) I look for a relatively premeditated start to this fight as they know each other, respect each other but also wish to destroy each other.
That said I feel Gustaffson will have a similar plan in mind, stick and move and force Jones to get impatient when forging forward which will allow the Swede to swipe him with shots. Gus does not have the power to do anything against Jones but vie for a decision win while it is my judgement that Jones (provided he is focused, primed and ready to fire) can win via decision or via the finish in this spot.
I believe Jones is a difficult man to predict yet he has so much riding on this outcome that I am going to make the position that he walks into T-Mobile Saturday night poised to perform at his prime. If he does that I believe he’ll not only get his hand raised but he just may mash ‘the Mauler’.
Jones -255 as second leg of parlay (with Usman -250 for 1 unit) to return .95 unit
An available Prop for the fight “Fight does the Distance” is Pick-em which indicates a fight similar to the first fight. I tend to disagree based on my due diligence reinforcing my position that Jones enters this fight primed to impress. For those of you that can find this Prop on the fight ‘in far-away places’ I’ll also invest in this.
Fight “does not go to Decision” -110
The Co-main event of this fight card is set to be as exciting and dynamic a title fight as the main event. In that co-main event women’s Featherweight (145lbs.) Champion Cristiana ‘Cyborg’ Justino -250 defends her title against women’s bantamweight (135lbs.) Champion Amanda Nunes +215 who is attempting to become a rare two division title holder in the UFC. This fight will be outstanding and offers great intrigue and dynamics. I’ll break this Co-main event down and others I feel present gaming value after Friday’s weigh-ins at GambLou.com.
Happy New Year to all and enjoy the fights.
--Updated 12-29-18 11 am EST—
Providing comprehensive main event breakdowns for PSW with Tuesday morning deadlines has actually been a blessing in disguise during the past year as I am forced to complete all my handicapping prior to being exposed to any other opinions (other than the few trusted MMA minds I do seek out to bounce ideas off of). The issue with early publications is that often times I’m not able to capture all the value on an underdog had I waited until Saturday to release. The flip side of that (like today) is that when Jones was released to PSW readers this week on Wednesday his price was a mere -255. Today as I write this he is -275 a price I still believe offers value. Also the ‘Does not go to decision’ is now -130. So readers hold market advantage on the main event.
Chris ‘Cyborg’ Justino -240 vs. Amanda Nunes +220
Ok so we released Cyborg -240 on my appearance with Matt Youmans and Erin Rynning this past Friday on VSiN’s program ‘The Edge’. My belief is that Nunes three inch reach disadvantage really comes into play in this fight. I see Nunes doing all she can to try to keep some separation from Cyborg who I anticipate will try to work inside Nunes and utilize a punishing body attack before Nunes hands drop and Cyborg finishes this fight. Nunes is a world class fighter but it is my judgement that she is too undersized and underpowered to be able to beat a focused Cyborg who now fights in her own back yard.
Parlay Cyborg -240 to Jones -275 returns .93 on a 1 unit outlay
Latifi -135 vs. Anderson +125
This is a release I posted on @Twitter Dec. 18th, Anderson +140. Latifi has innate power and will come directly to Anderson and try and pop him on the point as Anderson’s beak is as fragile as my Nana’s nativity set. Anderson has size, reach, length a wrestling pedigree and better boxing that Latifi does so this cat and mouse game goes like this: If Anderson can get this fight into the third or to a decision I believe he can win and even look impressive but he’ll have to navigate the Swedish fire hydrant who will bring explosiveness and unrelenting forward pressure as he tries to undo Anderson.
(+115 or better is a go)
Mendes -135 vs. Volkanovski +125
Another release made via @twitter, this one on the 16th of the month Volkanovski +150. I believe the younger wrestling based fighter will have advantages in speed, endurance and cardio but will have to navigate the early pressure, power and explosion of Mendes. This is another fight we will need to get ‘our guy’ into the later second round and beyond before we begin to see the tide turn to the Aussie. I believe Mendes off the suspension and a relatively easy win against Miles Jury is in for a rude awakening tonight.
(+120 or better is the target)
Hall -440 vs. Penn +400
Call me goofy but I think this is the only guy on the roster they could have given to BJ to make him look good, get to a decision and possibly walk off in style as opposed to how he has looked recently against anyone that can strike a match. Fortunately for Penn, Hall’s forte is rubber guard and lay and prey. Penn is not out of this fight and I’ll have a little lunch money bet on him at this obtuse price.
Any further releases will be posted prior to the fight (lol) and via @Twitter.
Enjoy the fights and Happy New Year
Profitable Sports Gaming